Senior Slide

By Sydney Souness


Author’s Note: I began writing this article in September. It is now January 3rd. You might say this fact is rather fitting given the subject matter of this article.


You have probably heard the phrase, “senior slide,” this thing that happens to seniors in their final year of high school. Urban Dictionary defines it as “that magical part of your senior year when things get a little easier and nothing you do matters,” which is partially true. If you’re having a difficult time imagining such an abstract concept, imagine a downward sloping demand as Mr. McPartlin would describe in Microeconomics. Said line is the progression of the senior class, starting with high potential for productivity, until the third week of school begins. After all, after January, some of us will already be accepted into college, and the dreaded application process is over, and just like that, we’re leaving high school.


The classic case of senioritis will, in some capacity, affect every senior at the high school, myself included. It begins with taking a two hour nap after school before starting homework, but quickly escalates to a problem that no student has an issue with. The following list explains the six stages of senioritis:


  1. Sustaining Hope

The hopeful mindset many seniors have at the start of the year. It’s the “This would never happen to me,” phase of denial, where the student tries his or her hardest to maintain productive and hardworking habits in order to ignore the looming effects of senioritis. It begins with “I’m not that kid,” but quickly progresses to, “even if it does happen, it won’t be that bad,” until, before seniors know it, the last hope for a productive year is officially gone.


2. Chaos

This is where the fun begins. At this point of the year, college applications are due in three days and Senior Project journals are due in two, and students are staying up until three in the morning to finish it all. Homework during this period becomes less than a priority under the importance of maintaining a (somewhat) healthy sleep schedule, writing journals, and deciding which college is most appealing. Rough nights are cured with five cups of coffee, but the chaotic cycle continues, and seniors begin to feel the ripple of its effects.


3. Temporary Satisfaction

Those long nights and shedded tears paid off. Eight clicks and $600 later, some seniors have applied to college with the early action deadlines, but not without the expense of a crumbling work ethic. Those homework packets and Google classroom responses are met with, “Oh, I’ll just do it later,” and by later, we all know that means lunch period before class. There are still those students who have the willpower to overcome the infectious lack-of-effort work ethic of their fellow seniors, and all the power to them, but since the first application deadline, those seniors have been the minority.


4. Sitting in Limbo

This stage affects more seniors than any other. To explain, I’ll equate this period of time to having a cold: you’re sick and tired of doing anything but laying in your bed, and you’re too worried about other responsibilities than focusing on your school work. Sound familiar? Well, odds are, most seniors are currently in this phase, awaiting decisions that dictate the rest of their lives. What will they do in the meantime to keep their minds occupied? Make coffee runs to Felicia’s, attend sports games, and, best of all, watch some quality films to pass the time. But wait. What about schoolwork? Well yes, what about it. Certainly, completing assignments here and there is obligatory, but why do that when there is an infinite amount of other (and better) things to be doing instead. Just food for thought.



Ah yes. The pinnacle moment of your high school career. The rush of adrenaline through your body. The twenty minute phone calls to your extended family. You’ve been accepted into college! But it’s still early in the year. What to do, what to do? I know what most seniors will probably NOT do: their homework. At this point, lunch period is no longer utilized for another homework session, leaving many assignments uncompleted. Seniors are adults now, kings and queens of high school. And if you want to binge watch Silicon Valley instead of studying for that Kinematics test, by all means, you do you.


6. Conditional Surrender

All right, let’s bring ourselves back down to Earth for a second. There are still midterms, Senior Project presentations, and the second semester in its entirety before any senior actually declares independence. Why do I reference this unfortunate reality? Well, there is a time and place for everything. The final days of school feel like endless bliss, until seniors are casually reminded of the possibility of failing Senior Project or even a letter rescinding their college acceptance.


The last ditch effort begins now. The final thought any senior put into school was roughly late November, but, the year isn’t over, whether he or she has been accepted into college or not. The required exams, AP exams, and a twenty-minute presentation about why fingerpainting was a learning stretch is all that is left before senior week, Ivy Day’s interesting ceremony, and the final walk across the stage. We are almost there. With a mixture of deep breaths and happy thoughts, I’m sure we’ll make it to June 11th.

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